Bonnie Alexander Lesley passed away in Waco on July 5, 2020 at the age of 79.
She was born November 24, 1940 in Memphis to Roy and Nettie Phelan Alexander. Bonnie grew up in Hedley where she served as valedictorian of her high school class in 1959.
She went on to earn her B.A. degree in English at the University of North Texas in Denton, her M.A. in English at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon and her doctoral degree in education leadership at Baylor University in Waco where she graduated in 1989.
Dr. Lesley served as a public school teacher for 17 years in El Paso, and a central office curriculum administrator and deputy superintendent for 24 years. Her experience includes time in school districts in El Paso’s Ysleta Independent School District, Austin, Kansas City and Little Rock. For two years, she served as the Associate State Superintendent for Curriculum in Delaware.
Bonnie has also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Baylor University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Tarleton State University and Central Texas A&M in Killeen.
After spending over four decades in schools, Dr. Lesley served as president of an educational software company in Waco for seven years.
In both her roles in public schools and in her political activities, Bonnie has always been a passionate advocate for equity, diversity and opportunity for all.
A founding member of the Texas Women’s Political Caucus, Bonnie chaired the Texas Women’s Political Caucus and worked on numerous causes and campaigns to improve the lives and well-being of people.
After her retirement, Bonnie continued her passion to improve the lives of children by co-founding an advocacy organization called Texas Kids Can’t Wait! The cause supported increased and more equitable funding for public schools, a system of accountability that would be less reliant upon standardized testing, and opposition to efforts to privatize public schools and state closures and takeovers of local schools.
Bonnie is survived by her son Bruce Lesley and his wife Lisa Lacasse of Bethesda, Md.; her four grandchildren, Alexander, Ireland, Aiden and Jared; her sister Martha Birdwell of Sweetwater and brother Alvin Alexander and his wife Brenda of Hurricane, Utah; niece Sharon Newman and husband Mike of Waco, nephew David Birdwell and wife Linda of Santa Fe, N.M., niece Carol Abernathy and her husband Mike of Sweetwater, nephew Richard Alexander and wife Sloan of Denton, niece Renee Lesley of Houston, niece Jill Peyton and husband Bret of Gig Harbor, Wash. and nephew Greg Alexander and wife Tanya of Fargo, N.D.
Private graveside services took place Friday, July 10, 2020, at Rowe Cemetery in Hedley. The family will be having an on-line celebration of life at a later date. Arrangements are by Robertson Funeral Directors of Clarendon.
In lieu of flowers, Bonnie’s family asks that contributions be made to the Network for Public Education Action, Planned Parenthood or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Sign the online guestbook at robertsonfuneral.com.